Tom Ka Gai literally translates to ‘chicken galangal soup’. There are various ways to spell it, but it all boils down to (literally) a soup with mulit-dimensional flavours.
If you’re tired of the usual winter soups, you have to try this one!
Tom Ka Gai is sweet, salty, sour spicy and creamy – all in each bite. It is difficult to imagine until you’ve tasted it.
Normally all the flavour is gained from fresh ingredients: galangal, lemon grass, and kaffir lime leaves. But these ingredients are not all readily available in Namibia. Some would argue that you can use ginger in place of galangal, while others claim it is not really a suitable substitute. I cannot comment, because I haven’t made Tom Ka from scratch yet. Maybe I will try the ginger version with my new food processor!
I usually go the easy route – and get a packet of Tom Ka paste from our local Taiwanese grocer. This small packet carries big punch, and takes 15 minutes to prepare. All the steps are on the packet. In short, you boil the paste and coconut milk together. Add mushrooms and chicken fillet blocks, and simmer until the chicken is cooked. Add fish sauce and lime juice to taste, and voila!
We enjoy having it with ‘Ginger & Roasted Coconut Rice’ – a recipe I got off another blog while surfing the net. Roast coconut flakes/dessicated coconut for 2 minutes under your oven grill. Add it and sliced fresh ginger to a pot with raw rice. Cook the rice according to instructions.